Pearl Throat
Pearl Throat: Chapter 22
  1. Exploit

The next day, after the rain had cleared in the early evening, before the morning study session began, Xie Hou went to the office and handed a leave of absence application to the class teacher.

“Taking a leave of absence?” The class teacher was a young girl who couldn’t understand why Xie Hou wanted to take a break from school just before the college entrance exam.

Are geniuses this arrogant? Do they think they can secure the top spot in the city without studying? The entire school placed its hopes on Xie Hou, hoping he would achieve the highest score, but at this crucial moment, he wanted to… take a leave of absence?

She pondered, reluctant to sign, but the next second, the principal sent her a message. She dimmed her phone screen, signed the paper while stealing glances at Xie Hou.

Xie Hou’s school uniform collar was somewhat watered-down, like old clothes. His buttons were meticulously fastened, covering his collarbone. There were scars on the skin above, as if scratched by someone.

Did he take a leave of absence due to experiencing campus violence?

She wondered.

Xie Hou understood her concerns. He took back the leave of absence application and explained, “My brother’s pet snake misbehaved, so I taught it a lesson, and it got upset.”

“A snake? Taught a lesson?” She widened her eyes.

“Its tail scratched my neck.” Xie Hou lowered his eyelids.

In reality, it was his fingers that had grazed his neck.

In the parking lot last night, when he forcefully kissed Shen Cizhu, the other party broke free of his control and pinched his neck, scratching his neck bloody with his fingertips.

Shen Cizhu was yelling and panicking. He couldn’t see the person in front of him clearly. In the darkness, he was being spied on by Xie Hou.

Shen Cizhu couldn’t resist Xie Hou. The kiss went all the way to his long, snow-white neck like a flower branch. Xie Hou bit lightly, and then left after feeling his shuddering.

In this regard, Xie Yan is very good at taming snakes.

“I didn’t expect you to be skilled in snake-taming.” The class teacher smiled and said, “You’ve always been an icy kid. I thought you wouldn’t be interested in anything other than studying.”

“Xie Hou, I heard you recently joined the Dieux Research Institute. Work hard; you’re the smartest student I’ve ever taught. When you achieve success in the future, don’t forget to come back and give me face.” She patted Xie Hou’s shoulder.

“I will, teacher.” Xie Hou no longer looked at the teacher. He nodded slightly in respect and turned away from the school.

Outside the school, a stretched Lincoln was waiting early. He threw the leave of absence application into the window near the front passenger seat.

“I agree to your leave of absence. Does that count as indulging you? What are you going to do next? You haven’t told me.” A man wearing a gold watch inside the car’s depths spoke.

His hand was reaching for Xie Hou’s wrist, but Xie Hou subtly refused this skin contact, keeping some distance.

“I don’t like this school. It’s useless to me. Taking a leave of absence is the best choice for me. It’s what my father should have done.”

“Yeah, you’re my son. As a father, I should let my son live happily. If you don’t want to go to school, then don’t. I didn’t like going to school when I was young either.” The leave of absence application was stepped on by the man in the car. He didn’t show his face. The Lincoln’s engine roared like a fierce beast in the wilderness.

As the man was about to leave, he took off his sunglasses, revealing a charming and handsome face.

He and the man who appeared after the explosion in the slums, the stern and indifferent “father” of Xie Hou, both drove stretched Lincolns.

Despite having opposite personalities, they both believed that Xie Hou was their son.

Because Xie Hou was the son of Huang Chuandie. They were both infatuated with the beauty named Huang Chuandie when they were young.

“Xie Hou.” The man’s tone was casual and rogueish. “You’re a smart kid. Even if you take a leave of absence, you can still be the top scorer, first in everything. I am proud of you and look forward to your honors. But before that, don’t forget about the 140 million game; it’s the coming-of-age gift we’re giving you.”

140 million is just a game.

Repaying this exorbitant debt is just a gift from Xie Hou’s “fathers.”

They orchestrated this debt in the name of Huang Chuandie, making Xie Hou the legal debtor. If Xie Hou couldn’t clear the debt within a month, he would lose the eligibility to receive their power and status.

Xie Hou looked at the man in the car.

“I will do it, Father,” he said.

After the car left, Xie Hou stood in place, and a thick flower branch that protruded from the wall gently touched his eyebrows.

He raised his finger, pushed the flower branch away, and his phoenix eyes clashed fiercely with the beautiful petals.

“140 million, huh,” he muttered to himself.

In China, the annual income of an average middle-class family ranges from only 300,000 to 500,000 yuan. In the imperial capital, the housing price is as high as 61,000 yuan per square meter. The middle class, accounting for 6.6% of the population in a country of 1.4 billion people, is considered the highest-income group. However, even so, it is still challenging to establish oneself in the imperial capital.

But the 140 million, after tax, could allow a person to live lavishly anywhere.

This amount of money is beyond the imagination of many, an unattainable sum for a lifetime. Yet, for a few men in the upper class, it is just a test game they give to their “son.” They want Xie Hou to clear this debt within a month. Only then can he prove that he is qualified to inherit everything from them.

Xie Hou, previously admitted to Peking University as a renowned young genius, dropped out because of rumors about his mother being a murderer and incurring debts. He hadn’t told his brother about dropping out; he was raised by his brother, and if his brother found out about the debt now, he would be very worried.

The seventeen-year-old Xie Hou thought kindly.

So, he went back to his hometown by himself. At that time, he still retained a bit of innocence, thinking that with his abilities, he could quickly clear the 140 million debt.

He didn’t understand why his mother would incur debts due to gambling. In his memory, his mother was a gentle, timid, and exceptionally beautiful bi-gendered person. She never went out alone. Why would such a mother be in debt?

It wasn’t until he later met those “fathers” that this puzzle was solved.

His “fathers” were powerful figures in various circles worldwide, capable of stirring up storms in international society. They were the true family fortunes that had stood for hundreds of years. Honestly, Xie Hou had no blood relation to them, but because he was Huang Chuandie’s son, they set their sights on him.

They had no biological heirs and wanted Xie Hou to inherit the family.

But before that, they needed to test whether Xie Hou was qualified.

So, they fabricated a gambling debt in the name of Huang Chuandie, pressing a debt of 140 million on the shoulders of a seventeen-year-old boy, turning his life upside down.

Debt collection, verbal abuse, fires, breakdowns, despair.

Xie Hou’s back had once been cut by a debtor’s axe, leaving a deep wound visible to the bone. Before it healed, one of his “fathers” took him to a tattoo shop. Ignoring the resistance of the underage boy, they forcibly tattooed a black, abyss-like wolf’s head on his back.

When the tattoo was finished, Xie Hou’s back was soaked in blood, like tears falling from the eyes of a wolf.

“Xie Hou, the game has begun. You need to prove your worth, or we won’t show you any mercy.” This “father” was a noble-blooded Italian man, with a towering figure resembling a wolf that overshadowed Xie Hou’s gaze.

His golden hair was dazzling, and his peach blossom eyes were always casual, in stark contrast to Xie Hou.

At that time, Xie Hou sat up, and his spine made a cracking sound of intense pain. The slender boy’s waist was bleeding, and he looked coldly at the “father,” saying, “As long as I clear this debt, I can obtain your families, right?”

“Don’t be so greedy. You can only have one father, so you can only inherit one family. But the rest, you can figure out yourself, whether it’s through acquisition or plunder. I appreciate both.” He smiled at Xie Hou, then put on black leather gloves and stood up.

The tattoo artist with golden hair and red lips tied his tie for him, and the ambiguous sound of high heels echoed in the narrow tattoo room.

Xie Hou lowered his eyelids, and his thick black eyelashes were like a curtain. He looked at those tattered red high heels, like a pool of blood.

He said in a low voice, “By then, will I have the right to kill you all?”

His “father” suddenly turned his head, his eyes full of fierceness.

After a long time, in the silence, he covered his face with his hand and laughed manically like a lunatic.

“Child, I will look forward to that day.” He said to Xie Hou.

Then he squatted down, and for once, he looked at Xie Hou with warmth. Xie Hou’s face was pale, and his hand touched Xie Hou’s face, showing pity as if treating his own biological son.

“Huang Chuandie was a kind and innocent whore. He never dared to resist us. No matter what we did to him, he just cried and endured it. At first, he wouldn’t even beg for mercy. Are you different?” He thought for a moment and continued, “Are you really the son of a whore?”

Is Huang Chuandie a whore?

Xie Hou didn’t know. He didn’t know what his mother had experienced in the past. He only remembered the warm embrace and whispers of his mother. Later, his mother died.

Killed by these men.

At the age of seventeen, Xie Hou stared coldly at his “father.” His lips imitated his “father,” mechanically forming a curve, while his phoenix eyes remained indifferent.

“I am your son, Father,” he replied to his “father.”

At the age of eighteen, Xie Hou returned to the capital. On the night of the century-long marriage between the Shen and the Li families, on a narrow and deserted pedestrian walkway, he encountered Shen Cizhu.

At that time, Shen Cizhu stood beside a red wall covered with roses. The snow-white shirt revealed the beautiful curve of his waistline under the moonlight. He covered his chest, his eyebrows and eyes showing pain. The crimson hair tie was tightly bound to his wrist, stopping the flow of blood.

This was a pathological beauty who took pleasure in self-destruction.

Also, the lover that his brother had guarded for ten years.

But they broke up.

As Xie Hou and Shen Cizhu passed by each other, he smelled the fragrance emanating from Shen Cizhu’s body. It was like a faint scent peeled from the deepest part of hell, moistened by the blood of a snake. It was a forbidden fragrance that layered upon itself, forbidden and enticing.

This was the first time Shen Cizhu encountered Xie Hou.

Later, Shen Cizhu met Xie Hou for the second time at the Gilded Pavilion.

Before that night, Shen Cizhu had determined that Xie Yan was completely useless through a test. He needed to find new subordinates, and he encountered Xie Hou at the Gilded Pavilion that night.

That night, the man named Zhang, who Xie Hou had actively provoked into a conflict, died in the lounge. The blame was deliberately framed on Xie Hou.

That night, Shen Cizhu got drunk and was brought home by Xie Hou. The deliberately staged explosive fire was also directed at Xie Hou.

Who did it?

Linking each case together, countless threads led to those few men at the end. They were high above, observing how their “son” would respond to their tests.

The fire that night caused Shen Cizhu’s neck to be cut by glass. Xie Hou, looking at the wound, thought, “Let it end soon.”

Isn’t it just 140 million? After repaying, everything can be put to an end, right?

So Xie Hou closed the net ahead of schedule. While Shen Cizhu was using him, he also used Shen Cizhu.

Shen Cizhu’s family was targeted by Xie Hou’s “fathers.” They wanted to absorb the Shen family’s assets. They conspired with the Shen Group’s board to dismantle the Shen family from within. Later, Shen Cizhu found out.

Shen Cizhu and Xie Hou reached a cooperation. Xie Hou helped him gain control of the Shen family, and in return, Shen Cizhu would repay Xie Hou’s 140 million debt.

But before that, Shen Cizhu had to be recognized as part of the Shen family.

Xie Hou was arranged by Shen Cizhu to join the research institute, and he obtained the gene test results between Shen Cizhu and the Shen family head that the board had secretly prepared.

The board bribed the research institute to fake the results.

Xie Hou complied.

Originally, Shen Cizhu was not the son of the Shen family head. After the falsification, he became one.

The gene test report was manipulated, achieving a nearly 99% blood relationship.

Shen Cizhu remained the heir of the Shen family, and Xie Hou’s mission was completed.

On the day of the major reshuffle within the Shen Group’s board, Xie Hou received a call from Shen Cizhu.

“I think our cooperation has been very successful. You helped me gain control of the Shen family, and I will clear that batch of debt for you. Now, I think it’s time to fulfill the promise.” Shen Cizhu seemed very pleased, his voice light and ethereal, like a soft cloud, unlike the curses, anger, and loss of control a few days ago in the parking lot.

Because he didn’t know that the person that night was Xie Hou.

After Shen Cizhu hung up the phone, Xie Hou lifted the brim of his tactical jacket on the late-night community track. The jet-black, icy fabric sharply contrasted with his face.

He was currently staying in the standalone apartment prepared for him by the Sheng family and would move out in a few days.

When Shen Cizhu’s subordinates delivered a suitcase containing 140 million yuan, Xie Hou was going upstairs.

“Not a penny less.” Shen Cizhu’s subordinate casually remarked to Xie Hou in front of the second-floor door.

“This money is real. Want to check? I can pour it out for you, hahaha.” The subordinates were a group of tall, well-dressed men in suits. One of them opened one of the suitcases, and an indescribable amount of money poured out in front of Xie Hou’s apartment door.

They were all very arrogant and expressed the most disrespectful contempt for Xie Hou, as if they thought it was an insult for Shen Cizhu to send them to deliver money to Xie Hou.

Because they believed Xie Hou was Shen Cizhu’s recent kept man. Giving money to a kept man was beneath them.

Xie Hou remained silent. He inserted the key into the door lock and turned it.

Then he turned his face to the side, looking at the several men downstairs who were about to leave.

The car horn beeped, followed by the urgent sound of an alarm.

No one knew how the now empty suitcase fell down and landed near Xie Hou’s door.

It fell almost vertically from where the man who had insulted Xie Hou was standing.

If he had taken even half a step more, precisely calculated, his own nose would have been severed by the sharp edge of the suitcase.

Fortunately, it only landed on the roof of the car, leaving a deep and fierce dent.


Certified member of the IIO(International Introverts Organization), PhD holder in Overthinking and Ghosting, Spokesperson for BOBAH(Benefits of Being a Homebody), Founder of SFA(Salted Fish Association), Brand Ambassador for Couch Potato fall line Pajama set.

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